FBI agents cut internet access, pose as repairmen to perform warrantless search

policestateusa.com / by Site Staff in News / October 29, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV — To investigate a purported case of untaxed sports betting, federal agents turned off internet access to three luxury hotel suites then impersonated repair technicians to covertly get inside and collect evidence. The FBI contends that this ploy is sufficient “consent” to perform warrantless searches in private residences.

* * * * *

In June 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspected that a wealthy Malaysian real estate developer and a few of his associates were betting on FIFA World Cup games. The bureau believed that 50-year-old Wei Seng “Paul” Phua and his son Darren Phua had accessed “online sports books” on their laptops as part of the unpermitted betting operation taking place at the Ceasar’s Palace Hotel and Casino.

The FBI was in need of an articulate reason to acquire a warrant on the Phuas. To obtain one, agents devised a plan to sneak into three hotel suites masquerading as helpful computer technicians, arriving to solve a problem with the internet service.

To create a disturbance, the scheme involved flickering the internet connection to the suspects’ villas over the course of two days, with the help of hotel computer contractors. Agents disguised as technicians responded to the villas with laptops to attempt to “fix” the problem. The plan was derailed when a butler refused to allow them to enter.

“I just want to make sure they can connect before I leave,” one FBI agent said, his hidden camera revealed. “Can we just make sure they can connect, OK?”

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